Movie Review - Fireproof
See this movie.
(Is that plain enough?)
I went to this film the other night, with a bare minimum of information about it, and zero expectations. Although I enjoyed Kirk Cameron's Left Behind movies, I expected the same sub-par acting and cheezy dialog.
I got that and a lot more.
Fireproof is a film produced by Sherwood Studios, which itself is a ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. These are the same folks who produced the excellent 2003 film Flywheel.
Fireproof is based largely on the book The Love Dare by Alex and Steven Kendrick, who also penned the script. Alex also directed the film. The film was shot on a relatively paltry budget of $500,000, using mostly donated locations and volunteer actors from Albany. (explaining the acting and the dialogue) Nevertheless, the film is wonderfully shot, with some beautiful locations in and around the town.
The film centers around Fire Captain Caleb Holt (Cameron) and his wife Catherine (Erin Bethea). The Holts are in the beginning stages of a divorce. Cameron's father reveals to his son how his marriage almost ended the same way. When Caleb rejects his father's request to accept Christ, the father instead challenges Caleb to a "love dare" - to do separate and escalating acts of love for his wife over the course of forty days.
Adding to Caleb's problems are the fact that a co-worker of Catherine's is vieing for her affections. On his side is his friend Michael, who offers words of wisdom, comparing a married couple to salt and pepper - different, but always together. The film follows Caleb through his forty-day journey to capture his wife's heart - and learn somethings about himself as well.
There are some genuinely eye-watering funny moments in this film, along with one fire-related action sequence that is amazing given it's scope and budget. But the real moments are the tender ones - father and son, mother and child, and husband and wife. The film has some real spiritual nuggets, as well. One particularly profound moment (and one of my favorites) has Calab asking his father as they sit at an empty Christian camp "How am I supposed to show love for somebody who over and over and over constantly rejects me?" His father leans up against a large wooden cross and replies "That's a good question." Zing...
It's not all about the marriage woes, either. There is a subplot involving a particularly boastful fireman getting his comeuppence that is as hilarious as it is right on the money.
If you can (and you should) look beyond the amature acting, this is great film with a well-told message: marriage is a covenant, not a contract. And it's worth fighting for. Take your spouse, then tell some friends.
As a side note, if this film is financially successful, it will go a long way toward telling Hollywood that Christians are out there, and want good, meaningful Christian films.